Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spotlight on Trade Adjustment benefits

Interesting piece on Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits and how they are administered, and the challenges in providing fair help to displaced workers, from the Wall St. Journal.

Crazy-Quilt Jobless Programs Help Some More Than Others -
April 20, 2009

The U.S. unemployment system is an uneven field of haves, have-nots and borderline cases, all found among the laid-off workers of a Maine company that makes beer-tap handles and croquet mallets.

When workers at a wholesale unit of Saunders Brothers lost their jobs in recent months, they qualified for Maine's standard state unemployment benefits of up to 26 weeks. Those laid off from a different Saunders plant qualified for a richer package -- two years of unemployment checks, health-care subsidies, free college and other perks...

A tiny slice of America's jobless currently receives the [Trade Adjustment Assistance] benefits -- some 50,000 people, out of more than 5 million now collecting unemployment checks. But an examination of the TAA program and recent awards suggest that the pool of potential beneficiaries could be far larger. With new unemployment claims at a 26-year high and the program expanding, the number of applicants is poised to jump...

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